Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Two Notions of Demographic Changes That Might Mean a Lot

 Two big questions on love and money. Money first.

Okay, the first one is an open question that I am longing to have answered: What is the effect of baby boomers retiring and accessing their IRAs in terms of enhancing government revenue?

Ordinarily, when something obvious is going to happen -- or has started to happen -- even the media picks up on it. But I haven't heard anything on this. It just popped into my head. So that makes me think that I'm not on to something. But here's the deal: one of the main purposes of IRA contributions all these years was to defer tax payments. Now, not that much of my own retirement is dependent on IRAs, mostly because I started late and didn't have as much time as others did to stock their IRAs with 5-6000 bucks a year. But I do have tax-deferred money in both IRAs and annuities. As I get further into my retirement, I'm going to be finally paying taxes on this money.

If we're such a huge population bubble that will destroy Social Security, aren't we also a population bubble that will pay down the debt with our bubblicious deferred taxes?

Sure, I hope I'll be paying at a lower marginal rate, but I'll be paying taxes long-deferred. Again, the question: Won't that mean a windfall in deferred tax payments over the next 10-20 years as boomers finally pay the piper? Won't that help with the national debt?

If anybody knows, please tell me. I'll be looking around for answers. (Hope the answer isn't that I'm an idiot...)

Demographic question no. 2: Birth rates are falling in Latin America, and even in some areas of North Africa and southern Africa (they're staying high in most of sub-Saharan Africa). Birth rates have drifted down in the U.S. and Canada, where they are close to the "replacement" level; the same can be said for Asia and Europe. So here's the question: Where are they getting all that birth control? Where is that mythical sway that the Roman Catholic Church has/had on the Latinos? In fact, if Rick Santorum is right -- and if the anti-birth-control/anti-abortion social conservatives are right -- then our Christian moral nation is either not having sex or not avoiding birth control.

The answer writ large is the Christian world is using birth control like crazy, in spite of the declaration by the pope that it's a mortal sin (you lose your trip to the Big House).

Another way of putting it is we love God except when He's making us have too many babies. Then, not so much.

Is this a true shift that portends hope for the future of mankind? Are we over our uncontrollable urge to kill the planet with too many humans? Are we becoming, like, secular?

Boy I hope so.

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